Thursday 18 January 2018

Disabled Dubliner Craig setting his sights on MMA glory

MMA fighter Craig Rankin from Rialto and Conor McGregor
MMA fighter Craig Rankin from Rialto and Conor McGregor
MMA fighter Craig Rankin from Rialto and Conor McGregor
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Dubliner Craig Rankin hopes to be one of the first people with a disability to compete in MMA – thanks to Conor McGregor. The 22-year-old Rialto native is paralysed in his right leg and needs a special type cast to walk.

He sometimes needs to use a wheelchair but for the past ten months he has been training alongside some of Ireland’s top Mixed Martial Arts fighters.

Craig told the Herald that last year he spiralled into a depression and put on weight, forcing him to use his wheelchair fulltime for six months.

A chance meeting with Conor McGregor in a McDonalds spurred him to join Straight Blast Gym (SGB) in Tallaght, where The Notorious began his career.

“He asked me and my friend if we’d do the training ourselves and I said ‘well I’m disabled’ and he just looked straight at me and said ‘so what’?,” he said.

“The fact that someone like him says ‘so what’ I was thinking if he can believe I can do it, then why can’t I?”

Craig doesn’t consider himself someone with a disability because, as he says, he “can do anything an able-bodied person can do”.

“I hope it helps other people realise who have a disability realise that they can do this too,” he said.

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